Nusachei Ashkenaz and Sefard include the following phrase in Krias Shema at bedtime:

בשם ה׳ אלקי ישראל מימיני מיכאל ומשמאלי גבריאל ומלפני אוריאל ומאחורי רפאל ועל ראשי שכינת קל

In the Name of Hashem, G-d of Israel: To my right is Michael, and to my left is Gavriel; before me is Uriel, behind me is Refael, and upon my head is the Presence of G-d.

From the fact that this is said specifically by bed time, I imagine this indicates a specific connection to these angels guarding one while he is sleeping. I see that Nusach Sefard includes this in Tefillas HaDerech, perhaps for the same reason.

  1. Is this assumption correct?
  2. What is the origin of this concept, that these angels in particular guard over a person?
  3. Why in this particular formation?

If someone wants to have a crack at the Likutei Moharan, I noticed on Sefaria that he has something to say on the topic, but it’s too Kabbalistic for me to figure out. I would prefer an answer that uses less Kabbalah, but I’m not expecting such an answer to exist, since I am asking about angels, after all.

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    :הִנֵּ֗ה מִטָּתוֹ֙ שֶׁלִּשְׁלֹמֹ֔ה שִׁשִּׁ֥ים גִּבֹּרִ֖ים סָבִ֣יב לָ֑הּ מִגִּבֹּרֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל (Shir HaShirim 3:7; from the Bedtime Shema) – ezra Oct 4 at 14:16
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    That does seem to be contradictory, asking for a source about angels hanging around your bed but not involving kabbalah. – Orion Oct 4 at 23:37

Yes, your assumption that this is about angels guarding you at night while you sleep is correct. This is the basis of the nusach of Kriat Shema shel HaMitah. It is, among other things, a protection against the pitfalls of Keri.

The origin of the teaching is from Shir HaShirim 3:7 referring to the Gibborim surrounding Shlomo HaMelech's bed while he slept. For reference to the angels which surround the Heavenly Throne of Glory as described in your citation to Likkutei Moharan, see the commentary of Tzaror HaMor to Shir HaShirim which says:

ששים גבורים. שהיה ששים רבוא ישראל סביב למרכבה.

As to the specific angels assigned, again, referring to the tradition taught by Rebbe Nachman, it follows the Rosh Teivot of the word Argamon (ארגמו״ן) from his citation. It stands for the angels Ohriel, Rafoel, Gavriel, Michoel and the Shechinah.

This also follows the explanation from Seer Pro Tzadik which says:

הענין שתפס במשל ארגמן דאותיות ארג"מ מן ארגמן מרמז ר"ת הד' מלאכים מיכאל גבריאל רפאל אוריאל והנ' מרמז לה' תתאה שהוא שכינתא וכמ"ש מימיני מיכאל ומשמאלי גבריאל ומלפני אוריאל ומאחורי רפאל ועל ראשי שכינת אל וכאן בתיבת ארגמן ן' פשוטה שמרמז ליחוד קוב"ה ושכינתי'

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